Profile of the Week

Corey Vanderpoel, vice president, Mertz Associates Inc.

Name: Corey Vanderpoel

Title: Vice President

Company: Mertz Associates, Inc.

City of Residence: Waukesha

Family: Single

How does the market look to you? “It’s no surprise that the M&A market is cooling off – it’s definitely more difficult to finance a deal. That being said, deals are still getting done. The strong companies with a desire to sell can still command a good value and there are more and more buyers looking at companies facing difficult times. The middle-of-the-road companies are mostly sitting on the sideline waiting for the economy to stabilize. While many companies like to hunker down during these times and even consider divestitures of non-core operations, history tells us that it’s a tremendous time for companies with the resources to look at acquisition opportunities.”

What are you working on now?  “We have a lot going on. I’m bringing a few sell-side opportunities to market very shortly and working with buy-side clients to identify and negotiate acquisitions. We’re also extremely busy right now discussing buy-side opportunities with companies across the world (China, Germany, India, Thailand and around the U.S.) that have the resources to do acquisitions. These companies are looking to leverage Mertz’s 30 years of experience doing acquisition searches.”

What was the best deal you’ve been involved in? “There are many ‘best’ deals where Mertz has achieved premium values for our sell-side clients, but one deal sticks out as the ‘best’ because of the long-term relationship I’ve built with my client. For over five years now, I’ve worked with a buy-side client to make acquisitions. In that time, I’ve become very involved in the strategic direction of his company and knowledgeable of the market in which it operates. I maintain a pipeline of approximately 500 target opportunities for this client, making contact with each on a regular basis. My client and I meet weekly to discuss specific opportunities and how they might fit with his company. By combining my client’s knowledge of his business and market with my knowledge of the M&A industry, we work very well together and generate results.”

What was the funniest or most interesting moment of your career?  “The most interesting moment is when I learned sleep is overrated. Clients always come first, and if we need to be somewhere, that’s where we’ll be. I had two very important back-to-back all-day meetings for two clients. The problem was that one meeting was in California and the other in Northern Wisconsin. So I flew to California early in the morning, had meetings all day and a business dinner at night. I then went directly to the airport, caught a flight back to Milwaukee and drove directly to my second meeting in Northern Wisconsin. In the meeting, when the potential buyer expressed concern that my client wasn’t a serious seller, I replied, ‘I’m not in the same clothes I was wearing 36 hours ago and running on one hour of sleep because I didn’t think my client was interested in working together.’ After a laugh, everyone knew we could get something done – and we did.”

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